Petition against internet censorship in Turkey

internet petition

On the evening of 5 February 2014, the Turkish parliament voted into law a series of measures that will tighten government control over the Internet, give it unrestricted access to users’ online activities, and increase its ability to block online content arbitrarily, without a court order. Parliament passed the measures without any broader consultation or sufficient expert input.

The law comes on the heels of countrywide anti-government protests in 2013 and amidst a high profile corruption scandal implicating senior government figures, much of which has been playing out online. The new legislation would severely restrict the dissemination of information, which the government deems to be against its interests. The Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, expressed his contempt for social media on a number of occasions, calling networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook “the worst menace to society” at the height of last year’s protests.

For more info and to sign the petition, should you wish to do so:

Related posts:


There are hundreds of petitions open, at any given time, against one thing or another in Turkey, thousands in the rest of the world. We don’t often disseminate the petition links. We wouldn’t have time to write anything else. 

However, this one is important for the existence of sites like translatingtaksim. Not only that the law may ban the access to this blog from Turkey but also make it impossible for blogs like this to be online in the country. 

Seeing the freedoms of speech and freedom of access to information are the fundamental right underlying the ability to make / contribute to / oppose any policy in any field, we are sharing this petition. 

Turkish police fire tear gas to break up Internet protest

8th Feb 2014 – (Reuters) – Police fired water cannon and teargas to disperse hundreds of people protesting in central Istanbul on Saturday against new controls on the Internet approved by parliament this week. The new powers, once approved by the president, will let authorities block web pages within hours, in what the opposition has said is part of a government bid to stifle discussion of a corruption scandal. Riot police advanced along Istanbul’s Istiklal Avenue behind armoured vehicles firing water cannon at protesters, some of whom waved flags and held up placards.


The woman in red speaks

Using the influence of a symbolic photograph is not a sign of justice

The woman in red (Ceyda Sungur) is not satisfied that the police officer who sprayed her is being prosecuted (

woman in red

In an article she wrote in Radikal (, she says:

I didn’t want to speak till now as I didn’t want to change the symbolic value of ‘the woman in red’ and I didn’t want to make an individual more important than the movement itself. But now I feel I owe an explanation especially to the families of those who were killed during Gezi. No one should talk of justice until the killers and those responsible for the killings are punished. Prosecuting a 23 years old police officer for acting alone yet still under the orders of his superiors is not sufficient compensation for the violence incited by a government who described the police as ‘legendary’.

During the 7 months since Gezi, no case has been brought against the police for those they injured. While this is the case, prosecution of a police officer spraying tear gas into my face contributes nothing to justice. It is clear that this prosecution will not go beyond using the influence a photograph had internationally and beyond an attempt to quash the rebellion of millions.

Prosecuting officers whose job security and working conditions are dictated by their superior is no consolation for those who lost their lives, suffered brain injuries, lost their eyes, broke their limbs and sustained other injuries, and for their families and those of us who managed to stay alive during Gezi.


How unfortunate that the following were not wearing a red dress

Ethem Sarısülük – when he was shot in the head by a police bullet;

Abdullah Cömert – when he died after being hit on the head by a tear gas canister;

Mehmet Ayvalıtaş – when he was run over by a car during the protests in the “1st May” neighbourhood;

İrfan Tuna – when tear gassed in his work place;

Medeni Yıldırım – when he carried a placard against the construction of a police station;

Selim Önder – when he went to visit his daughter living in Gümüşsuyu;

Zeynep Eryaşar – when she joined her children guarding the Gezi Parkı;

Ahmet Atakan – when he protested to demand the killers be punished;

Ali İsmail Korkmaz – when he was beaten to death; and

Serdar Kadakal – whe he sat outside his place of work.

Berkin Elvan did not commit a crime other than going to the shops to buy a loaf of bread. [when he was shot in the head by a tear canister and has been in a coma since June, and earlier this month celebrating his 15th birthday still in a coma]

Just because these people were not accidentally captured in a press photo cannot be an excuse for not prosecuting and punishing those responsible for their death and suffering.

Of course today we cannot talk about a justice and equity in a system which prosecutes journalists fighting for freedom of speech, lawyers helping those unjustly treated and academicians defending independent science and protects those responsible for the killing of Hrant Dink (7 years ago this Sunday) and many others.

Despite all this, nothing will be forgotten and this unjust treatment will not be accepted. Justice will only be achieved through fighting for our rights and I believe Berkin will wake up for this. 

Policeman who sprayed tear gas to ‘woman in red’ faces three years in jail

15th Jan 2014 – A Turkish police officer who sprayed pepper gas directly into the face of several protesters, including a woman in a red dress in what became one of the most iconic photos from last summer’s Gezi resistance, will face three years in prison, Doğan news agency reported Jan. 15.

Istanbul Public Prosecutor Adnan Çimen demanded up to three years in prison for F.Z., a 23-year-old police officer, who used tear gas against a group of peaceful protesters in Gezi Park on May 28, 2013, on charges that he abused his authority.

Ceyda SungurThe prosecutor also demanded that F.Z. be dismissed from the profession in the indictment. According to the indictment approved by the court on Jan. 9, F.Z. sprayed tear gas at a group of protesters, including Ceyda Sungur, who became known as the “woman in red” after the incident, without first issuing any warning. The officer violated the regulations on police actions during mass incidents and the regulation on the use of tear gas, said the indictment. The prosecutor also said F.Z. was closer than one meter to Sungur and that he targeted her face in using the chemical agent without warning. He continued to spray the gas after she turned her face to protect herself, said the indictment. F.Z. used tear gas in the same way on others at the scene and also kicked some other protesters, the indictment said, noting that Sungur was not involved in any violent action before and after the police’s use of tear gas. The Gezi Park, or June, Resistance in Turkey began at the end of May against a government redevelopment plan. The attempt to save the last green area in Istanbul’s central Taksim Square evolved into the country’s largest turmoil in recent history, with prolonged protests across the country, resulting in the deaths of seven protesters and one police officer. Thousands of people were also injured as a result of sustained police brutality.

After a Break, Turkey’s Prime Minister Again Courts Controversy

7th November 2013 – In his time in power, more than a decade now, Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has alienated large portions of the population for his seeming intrusions into private lives. He has told women how many children they should have, has sought to outlaw abortion and adultery and to limit alcohol consumption and once, oddly, went on a public tirade against white bread.

Many Turks who had once supported Mr. Erdogan’s democratic overhauls, like securing civilian control over the military, came to see such pronouncements as grating and abrasive, even evidence of a rising authoritarian style. That contributed to the sweeping antigovernment protests over the summer that presented the gravest crisis to the leadership of Mr. Erdogan and his Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party, known by its Turkish initials, A.K.P.

Now Mr. Erdogan, who had largely tempered his divisive language in the months after the unrest, has raised a storm of protest, saying this week that he wants to outlaw coed dormitories at state universities, and even extend the crackdown to off-campus housing shared by male and female students. Once again, Mr. Erdogan, with his words, has pushed Turkey’s culture wars to the fore, underscoring deep divisions between the secular and the religious, and prompting the sort of controversy many even within his own party had hoped to avoid in the aftermath of the protests and just before Turkey enters an election cycle.


Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center, had largely avoided comments on divisive public issues since antigovernment protests over the summer. Adem Altan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center, had largely avoided comments on divisive public issues since antigovernment protests over the summer. Adem Altan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

When an elected Mayor goes on hunger strike…

UPDATE: 8/11/13…. the hunger strike is over. She is in treatment. People protesting. Wall construction is halted. But the questions at the end of this post still hold.

Post from 7/11/13

Nusaybin Mayor, Ayse Gokkan, has been on a hunger strike for 8 days. And Turkish government is not doing anything about it.

She is not a prison to be forgotten in a cell.

She is the elected Mayor of Nusaybin, a border town of the city of Mardin.

She is protesting against the ‘wall of shame’ that’s being built between Nusaybin and Qamislo (Rojava) in Syria.

In her press release, she said:

“Borders divide women the most. Men parcel up the land as if it’s their fields. The issue is not really the wall. in 21st century, we need to get rid of borders. Just as Nusaybin is home to Arabs, Syriacs, Armenians, Yezidis, Mehelms and Kurds, so is Rojava. The objective of the walls is to build a wall of shame between Kurdish peoples. It’s unacceptable in the 21st century”

“there is no threat to Turkey from Rojava. There is a peace process going on in Turkey. If Kurds living in Turkey is not a threat, how can the Kurds living in another country be so”

The Home Secretary, Muammer Guler, said the wall is a security measure to protect the local people from mine fields near hte border as a road is being built. Gokkan’s point of view is that Turkey is a signatory to Ottowa Convention which requires cleaning up of mine fields, not building walls around them. She is on hunger strike while keeping watch in the mined area.

There are other areas along the border where similar walls are being built between Turkey and Syria.

Whatever the government’s reasons and however righteous they are, this is another example of a democracy that is not as democratic as it likes to be seen: no official information about the wall has been issued to the local authorities, local people protesting have not been listened to.

In the meantime, there is another human being suffering – on her 8th day of hunger strike (with no deadline), Ms Gokkan has lost 9 kg and doctors checking up on her say that as she is not taking salty sweet water, what water she drinks she throws up, and her muscle tissue is beginning to be lost.

How can an elected government remain silent against an elected Mayor going on hunger strike? Oh, sorry, they do something like tear gassing the crowds protesting…but more importantly: How can a government run a country in a way that an elected Mayor resorts to hunger strike?

ayse gokkan

For Turkish:

Men and women shall not love in the same house!

PM ERDOĞAN: “Male and female students shall not live in the same house. It is against our conservative democrat mentality. We instructed the authorities to inspect.”

Note that in Turkish he used kiz /oglan for Female / Male which are used to signify virginity, especially in ‘kiz’ for females.

Monday, 4 Nov
After their recent comments and actions against abortion, decollete, alcohol consumption and so on, ruling AK Party continues to abuse the so-called “public morals” of its conservative electorate population. Today, Erdoğan pointed opposite-sex housings among university students as a result of the lack of enough dormitories (and whose fault is that?). He justifies his opposition on the grounds of their “conservative-democrat” mentality – which is basically an OXYMORON. How and based on which constitution they will inspect and act on the free will of adult people, is still a mystery.

*Kaos-gl (an LGBTQ association) has just made this comment:
“we appreciate erdoğan’s support for gay and lesbian couples” :)) irony of course.
Unfortunately, not everyone shares the same sense of irony…photo of a sign written by a resident of an apartment block put up yesterday (5 Nov) complaining the immoral presence of men-women in the same flat and bringing disrepute to their block


In the meantime, Marmaray (tram tunnel under the Bosphorus joining Asia and Europe) which opened on 29 October despite concerns about its safety features not being complete, has been shut down several times – supposedly because exited young travelers pressed all the buttons in te carriages….yea, right!….